When I made Hands-on Alphabet Mats for my students a couple of years ago, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would need a virtual counterpart for students. But then came COVID and everything changed. Now, even though we are currently face-to-face, I know that going virtual is a possibility and one I wanted to be prepared for if it happened. So I decided to create a virtual counterpart using Boom Learning™ Cards.
Hands-on is the key in kindergarten. Using snap cubes, stickers, legos, pompoms, playdoh, cars and so much more, I have made practicing letters on the most engaging parts of my Daily 5 stations. By extending that learning and being able to offer a virtual option, I know that my students will not lose any of that valuable practice if they happen to be home and on computers instead of in class. Here’s kind of how it works when you look at them side by side next to the Alphabet Mat sets.
I created a deck of 29 interactive cards WITH SOUND for each letter of the alphabet. Each letter has a building component as well as letter-sound practice activities. Let’s take a look . . .
On the alphabet mats, students move pompoms with tongs to build the letters.
There is also the option to use bingo daubers to make the letters.
In the Boom Deck, students are given verbal cues first identifying the letter and it’s sound and then instructing them to drag the pompoms to build the letter. There is also a verbal example of a word with the beginning letter sounds. Check out the video to see how it works:
On the alphabet mats, you have the option to use a printable one and use stickers to cover the letter.
Or you can use erasers and tongs to do the same.
On Boom Cards, students drag the stickers (pictures that start with the letter sound) to create the letter. There is always a verbal cue that identifies the letter name and a verbal example of a word that starts with the letter to reinforce learning.
Students use legos to build letters with this hands-on activity. I add clear lego mats to this in case they need to place the mat over the example for a bit of help.
Of course, all these mats come with a capital and lowercase version and a couple of options to choose from so you get a perfect fit for your learning.
When they see this activity in the Boom Deck, they get their verbal instructions and then move the legos to their playing mat on the deck. By clicking the submit button, they will get instant feedback as to whether they have completed the task correctly or not.
The face-to-face version using snap cubes has students building letters and practicing letter formation.
I always let them know, they don’t HAVE to use the exact colors as the example template.
When using the Boom Deck, the activity looks like this.
Pattern blocks are also a great hands-on tool for building letters. This is what the face-to-face version looks like.
And on Boom Cards, they drag the pieces to make the letters as well.
Although there wasn’t a face-to-face version for these building blocks, I knew they would still provide an engaging tool for students. So I added these to each letter deck as well.
In order to make sure I gave my students lots of opportunities to hear the sounds associated with the letters in addition to building letters, so I added a few more self-correcting activities to each deck in addition to the building cards.
You’ll notice that there is a verbal cue for any of the pictures so students do not have to guess what the picture is . . .
You can check out all of the features in each deck by playing the preview . . . it gives you a little hands-on sample of what your students will see. Just click HERE to get started.
Extra Hands-On Alphabet Mats . . .
So of course, not all the alphabet mats that I use translated to Boom Cards, but they are still valuable activities for reinforcing letters in the classroom.
These play-doh mats are used for every letter in my class.
We all have a pile of geoboards in our cupboard. These mats gave me another use for them. I purchased clear boards so they could be placed over the top of this activity in case a student needed a bit more help.
Cars are always a great motivator for my kinders and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you need other great car activities for your kindergarten classroom, you can check out my blog post HERE.
These mats are, of course, available individually so you can choose the ones for which you already have tools. Or if you’d like to save big, you can purchase them as a bundle for significant savings. Just click HERE.
Likewise, you can also purchase the Boom Decks by separately by letter if you would like, or you can save big by buying the complete alphabet bundle.
Either way, I know I’m prepared for if my students end up virtual or if we stay face-to-face. I’ll be introducing the Boom Cards next week so if virtual becomes necessary, the learning curve won’t be so rough. Plus, I think these will just be a really great addition to our Daily 5 Alphabet Station Activity choices.